Retrofit Service DressRetrofit Service Dress Close up

Retrofit Service Dress Uniform

1994 - Present

By 1995, things were in a bit of confusion for the USAF officer in lieu of the service dress uniform. Three different types and styles of uniforms were covered by regulations. The General John P. McConnell style was still regulation because it was suppose to be phased out by 1999 for the General Merrill A. McPeak uniform. The General Merrill A. McPeak uniform was regulation up to 30 September 1996 for those who switched to the McPeak style. When the McPeak transition period discontinued in 1994, the style did not revert back to the John P. McConnell uniform. Instead, a new service dress uniform was introduced which was referred to as the USAF Retrofit Service Dress Uniform. The Retrofit Service Dress would eventually win-out and be the only uniform covered by regulations.

In reality, there were opponents and proponents of all three service dress uniforms. It seemed most were hoping things would revert back to the old style. One has to remember that not many of the officers changed to the McPeak uniform and were still wearing their old uniforms. There were supporters of the McPeak uniform but, in general, the uniform did not have the history and popularity of the McConnell uniform. On the other hand, the Retrofit uniform is new and looks like a business man's uniform. This aspect has been cited by both proponents and opponents of the Retrofit uniform. Many liked the new business style uniform, but many thought the blazer business style looked too flimsy and did not relate to the history and heritage of the US Air Force. At present, the Retrofit is the only acceptable service dress uniform covered by USAF regulations.

The Retrofit Service Dress uniform is a polyester-wool blend, serge weave, semi draped, single breasted coat with three buttons. The buttons are satin finished Hap Arnold style with wings and star. There is one welt pocket on the upper left side and two lower pocket flaps. The welt pocket is used to align ribbons and badges. Ribbons are to rest on but not over the edge of the pocket. Three or four ribbons per row are acceptable. All insignia such as the aeronautical ratings, specialty badges, occupational badges, distinctive badges, identification badges and the officer's U.S. lapel insignia are high gloss in style. At first, name tags were not authorized. In time, the blue plastic name tag was adopted and then dropped in favor of a medal name tag. The medal name tag was to be worn on the right side of the uniform and at the same level of the bottom row of ribbons to the left. Colonel and below wear regular size insignia on the epaulettes and have a one-half inch dark blue sleeve braid three inches from the end of the sleeve. General officers sleeve braid is dark blue with a width of one and one-half inches. Generals wear three-quarter or five-eighths inch stars. Lieutenant generals, major generals and brigadier generals center one inch stars on the epaulettes.

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